There are two of us. I like our dishes, the plates we eat from at a meal, to match. We have a few sets of dishes. When we packed up and moved from the house, the children were given any sets they wanted, most were sold at auction, and we kept a few sets. The “good china” people gave us when we were married, I don’t like it, never did, never have, never will, but it's ours for life with all that signifies, and I'm not letting it go. Linda and her mother selected it, from England, it’s called Wedgwood “Blue Florentine” and the design around the rim has serpent tongues weaving in and out of the eyes of skulls, bon appetit. Our last semester at Florida, I showed it to my friend Jerry, who said, “Weller, I wouldn’t hit a hog in the rump with that.”
For our marriage good silver, I wanted a pattern with a shell called something like “fiddle, shell, thread,” but Linda and Paint chose flatware that blended with Mrs. Peter’s "Francis I" and now we have plenty of silver for any occasion. Of our brood, only Joe has wanted any of that, and has a complete set of, I think, six place settings, three Francis I and three Burgundy. Of course, Lucile wasn’t called “Paint” until Malinda arrived a few years later and started calling Linda’s mother “Paint,” but there it is anyway.
We kept some elegant oriental china that was Linda’s mother’s, sent to auction something hideously garish she had that was reddish-orange and gold with grotesque orange peacocks or something, jiminy christmas. Kept an exquisite set of “half-blue” is the translation, that we long admired then finally saved up and bought at a china shop on Motomachi when we lived in Yokohama in the mid-1960s, the prettiest pattern I've ever known. I think I saved a set of twelve or sixteen elegant French or German dishes that I bought on eBay ten or a dozen years ago for use at like Thanksgiving when lots of family were over, white porcelain with a something-karat gold rim, I think they’re in a china cabinet in the pantry; or maybe I let those go to auction, or maybe gave them to Tass, I’m no longer sure of that or anything else.
A couple of plain white melmac plates. A couple of Japanese white with blue designs that we used for breakfast this morning, we bought them years ago at Stone Lantern, Ralph DeVille's shop in Highlands, NC. A set of eleven (one missing obviously) Limoge dessert plates. Finally of course, my set of a dozen old fashioned ten-inch plates from Bayern, white porcelain with a delicate gold design in the gold rim, I bought them years ago, listed as dating 1937, that I call my “nazi dishes” that are now our everyday dishes.
As I was saying, I like all the dishes on the table to match. Not a fetish by any means, but why not, it somehow lends a fabrication of order to life, of ordinariness, calm and control. Matching table mats. I don’t mind if the flatware is a mix of patterns, stainless, sterling, plated, but I want the plates to match. I’m not disturbed when that’s not the case, when Linda has one plate and gives me a different one ragtag, she doesn’t usually do that, but when it happens there’s an uneasy feeling that life is starting to unravel in its last surviving remnant of order and that the next stop will be the nursing home, slouched in a wheelchair in the front lobby, dozing and with my mouth open.
DThos+ in +Time+ and moving on